Usually writing music for narrative feature films, Bear McCreary had to take a different approach to compose for a documentary. The documentary, directed by Jennifer Brea, chronicles her ordeal suffering from ME, more commonly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
“I learned a lot working with Jennifer Brea on Unrest,” said McCreary. “This is literally her life. So, approaching it as I would a scripted film proved to be pointless.” Unrest is, at its core, a love story. How Jen and her husband forge their relationship while dealing with her mysterious illness is at once heartbreaking, inspiring and funny.
One of the inspirations McCreary took from seeing Brea’s journey was the sound of the MRI machine (“I got to write for and orchestrate the sounds of an MRI machine! That was a first!”).
“They say that your composer is the film’s first audience,” said Brea in the film’s blog. “In working with Bear, not only did we deepen the emotional journey of Unrest for viewers, as the director it was an opportunity to experience the film from a fresh perspective and add an entirely new layer of meaning.”
“I rewired my thinking so that I was scoring her life, and thought of the film as a byproduct,” McCreary explained. “The film tackles complex social and medical issues, and yet I was inspired by Jennifer’s distinctly personal narrative voice. I strove to support her story with subtle themes, warm string textures, and evocative melodies.”